Getting settled in a new country has its ups and downs at the best of times. Add a pandemic to the mix and things become a lot more complicated. Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus and your (new) expat lifestyle in the Netherlands.
Being Away From Your Family
Being away from loved ones in the middle of a pandemic can be challenging. You might be worried about how your family and friends are doing, thinking about what to do if they get ill, and/or you might be feeling isolated and alone. These feelings are 100% understandable.
Luckily, in this day and age there are many options for staying connected while you are living abroad. FaceTime, Zoom, Uberconference, Viber, and Skype all have options that allow you to have face-to-face calls. It might not be the same as being in the same room with your family, but it will let you check in on how they are doing, share news, and even play a game or two. Be sure to also utilise the more traditional communication options of email, text, and pen and paper for those moments in-between.
Don’t Forget About You
Don’t forget to recharge your batteries and look after yourself. As they say on an airplane, put your mask on before helping someone else. Get fresh air each day even if you just stand on your balcony. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. And, relax with a meditation session, a book, or a film you have been meaning to watch.
Make the Most of the Situation
If your weekly club meetup or daily sessions at the gym have been cancelled, try not to let that time get absorbed into work (an easy thing to happen when working from home!). Instead, ring fence that time for something else that you enjoy. Cliché as it may sound, now is the perfect time to work on a project you never had time for or to try out a new hobby.
How Visas are Affected for You and/or Visiting Family
Due to Covid-19 all consular desks of embassies, consulates-general, local government, and the IND are (generally) closed (to in-person visits). You can book an appointment as soon as these re-open.
Short-Stay Visa: If you are in the Netherlands on a short-stay visa, but cannot leave the country and your visa is expiring or expired, you can apply for an extension via telephone (088 04 30430) with the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND). It is not necessary to have a sticker placed in your passport, as the extension is only valid in the Netherlands and will be registered in the European Visa Information System (VIS).
Visa Free: For individuals in the Netherlands visa free (i.e. the period of 90-days within 180-days as part of the Schengen agreement) and your time has expired or will expire soon, you do not need to report this to the IND. The Dutch government is aware that it is more difficult to exit the country during this time and is checking less strictly those that fall into this category. It is expected that you will try to return when your right of residence expires.
Travel Ban: The travel ban does not apply to holders of a long-stay visa or temporary residence permit (MVV). You will have access to the Netherlands, or another Schengen country. However, keep in mind that in many places traveling is not possible or is not recommended.
If you have to travel for work and feel uncomfortable doing so, explain your concerns to your manager and suggest any alternatives you can think of. If a virtual option or postponement isn’t possible, be sure to follow the prevention guidelines set out by the RIVM.
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